This paper reviews the academic literature on the cause of same-sex attraction (SSA) and examines 3 categories of hypotheses for the cause of SSA:
1.Environmental causes such as parenting issues, child abuse, trauma, socialisation.
2.Biological causes such as genetic factors, fraternal birth order, gender atypicality (effeminate male or masculinised female), hormonal factors, and brain/ neuronal factors.
3.Whether SSA is a ‘personal choice’.
1.There is no evidence that homosexuality is inherited as a ‘gay gene’. Some twin studies suggest heritability not only for homosexuality but for all facets of sexual orientation, but there is substantial disagreement between studies.
2.Even if reported heritability values are accurate, the twin studies indicate a larger role for environmental factors than for genes.
3.There is no convincing evidence for the fraternal birth order effect.
4.Evidence for gender atypicality is inconclusive
5.There is no convincing evidence that same-sex attracted men have differences in brain structure that explain SSA.
6.Bottom line: research has not found a conclusive, convincing explanation for the cause of SSA
‘As reviewed here, there is a wide variety of hypothesised causes for same- sex attraction. Some causal models have received more empirical support than others, but no cause has yet gained sufficient support to provide a compelling explanation…
Our primary conclusion is that no one causal mechanism is both necessary and sufficient to explain the whole gamut of human sexual attraction. Thus, there is no point in looking for the cause of same-sex attraction – it does not exist.’
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